National Day Thanksgiving Service
We must pass on our faith
to the next generation:
By Peter Teo
THERE IS A FEAR that we are losing our young – to values and lifestyles foreign to us. They live in a new world, both exciting and dangerous.
Stating this in his sermon “Through All Generations” at this year’s National Day Thanksgiving Service at St Andrew’s Cathedral’s New Sanctuary on Aug 12,
Speaking in his capacity as President of the National Council of Churches of Singapore, which organised the service, he said that our worldview and hopes must be rooted in the eternal sovereign God who watches over all of us. His years redemptively frame our short, limited and uncertain days. His years give dignity to our days.
A church is as strong as its compassion for the least, the last and the lost. The same applies to the nation. There are people like that in our midst. God cares for them.
“Do we?” he asked.
The rise in these more pragmatic life goals did not match any significant shift towards civic consciousness, said the
“The Youth Olympics is here. There is so much potential in the youth. We must pass on our faith to the next generation. This is a challenge today.”
Referring to Psalm 102: 11-18 and 25-28, the text of his sermon, he said there are two things we learn about God here.
Firstly He is sovereign. He is in control. He has not lost control over nature or history. Nothing happens without His design or permission. This is a comforting and reassuring truth. We are not the debris of a mindless history, but beings who are loved and shaped by God. We are not simply blown about in a storm like fragile leaves, but behind the wind is the breath of God.
This gives us reassurance that the present is meaningful, that our circumstances, whether as individuals, families, churches, and as a nation, have some meaning connected with the sovereign God. We can therefore put our hearts and souls into the present, making it better, hoping prayerfully for the grace of God.
The second thing we discover about God is that He is eternal. He will outlast everything. He will have the last word on everything. When all is gone, He remains. This truth is summarised in the phrase “Your years.” “Your years go on through all generations” (v 24). God will outlast our generation and would be present in every generation. More than that, God will outlast all generations and nations. “But you remain the same and your years will never end.” (v 27).
This is grace at work, said the
At 7.50 pm, the greetings and chats in the New Sanctuary and the cacophony outside gave way to the sweet sounds of Cathedral Bells ringing out “Ämazing Grace”, signalling the start of the Thanksgiving Service.
Heads of churches pray for
Among those present were Mrs Lim Hwee Hua, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, and her husband; Mr Gan Kim Yong, Minister for Manpower, and his wife; Associate Professor Ho Peng Kee, Senior Minister of State for Law and Home Affairs; and Mr Lim Biow Chuan, an MP for Marine Parade GRC, and Mrs Lim.
Following the prelude, the singing of several hymns and choruses, a choral anthem, and a rousing rendition of “From Many Shores” – a song for the nation – heads of various denominations led in praying for the nation.
The Thanksgiving Service ended with the closing hymn, “Shine, Jesus, Shine!”, after which Anglican Archbishop John Chew pronounced the benediction.
The worshippers and guests then gathered outside the sanctuary, facing the amphitheatre, for a tea fellowship and to reflect on the service and how